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Summer trip to Salida and Estes

Austin, Texas
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Summer trip to Salida and Estes

We are flying into Denver in June and have 1 week to spend. We have 4 nights booked in Estes Park, and from what I can tell we would like to possibly spend some time in Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Grand Lake, Buena Vista and Salida. We have 2 kids, 14 & 17, and like to stay in cabins on a river / lake, go horseback riding, white water rafting, shopping, fishing and some light hiking. I have spent days reading thru all the posts and can't seem to line up an itinerary! We fly in on a Sat, and will be spending 4 nights in Estes, and leave on Sunday. Need a place for Sat night, and then Thurs, Fri & Sat. Can be 1 place or 2. Not sure if we could day trips to some of these places, or if there are other places you would recommend.

Not sure where the best white water raft trips are or horseback riding would be. Please help me figure this out, as we are late on making reservations! Thanks!!

38 replies to this topic
Colorado
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1. Re: Summer trip to Salida and Estes

Buena Vista and Salida are very close to each other. I'd pick one or the other. Me, I am partial to Salida. It has the largest historic designated area in the state. The historic area is lovely with shops, restaurants and the river runs right through it. Kids float the river on tubes and just life jackets while adults enjoy a beverage at Rivers Edge. http://www.nowthisiscolorado.com/ the short video will give you the idea. I do like a day at Mount Princeton Hot springs too.

You might look for lodging at the Woodland Motel. http://www.woodlandmotel.com is is an older property but well maintained in a good location. If you need something more modern with a pool and breakfast there are the chains represented along the highway.

I have to say that with 4 nights is Estes and only one week you are going to have to give up some of the destinations,

Edited: 1:52 pm, April 02, 2014
Colorado
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2. Re: Summer trip to Salida and Estes

I agree with alli about Salida over BV but I would strongly suggest you repost your question in the main Colorado forum rather than trying to solicit advice and follow six identical posts.

Austin, Texas
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3. Re: Summer trip to Salida and Estes

Thank you! We had so many different areas of interest, and I'm not sure how close in proximity they are to each other, which is why I asked in the various forums. I also thought that maybe the individual forums would have more specific advice to the specific areas I was looking at, as well as individual activities such as white water rafting or horseback riding.

And, yes, as much as I'd like to visit all the areas listed, I know we won't be able to. Was hoping to get some help in which places would be a better fit for us, as well as if we could do a couple of day trips out of one place or not.

Colorado
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4. Re: Summer trip to Salida and Estes

You are welcome, I'd suggest white water rafting out of Salida the visitors bureau link I gave you is a good resource

nowthisiscolorado.com/directory/…river all the outfitters are reputable.

It would help to know the budget for lodging and activities. Are the towns ones you want to see for specific reasons?

If you change your route at all consider http://www.americansafariranch.com/ for horseback riding

You could go to Estes then Breckenridge then Salida, though even that is a bit much with only 7 days and 4 committed to Estes.

One thing that might influence the Salida part is fibark.

http://www.fibark.com/

Austin, Texas
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5. Re: Summer trip to Salida and Estes

We've been to Breckenridge before, and the places I listed are just places that looked like ones we would enjoy. That's why I need help in narrowing things down :). We fly into Denver early Saturday morning. Where would you stay that first night on the way to Estes? And then we have 3 nights on the tail end. Sounds like maybe 1 night in Salida for sure? We particularly like to stay in cabins on the river / lake if possible, but don't have to.

We have a great place in Estes. I even thought about Grand Lake too, but again, I don't know distances or things to do in all these places. The hot springs sounded like fun in Glenwood Springs, but for sure we want to white water and horse back ride. We'd like to stay under $300 / night. I'm just getting nervous with us being so late in getting to this! I just need some direction for those 3 nights. Thank you again for your time!

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6. Re: Summer trip to Salida and Estes

Hopefully fv1989 and Babalax will chime in. A cabin in Salida for one night will be tough in summer. A hotel is most likely your best option. Frankly if you go to Salida you will likely be on the water most of the day. Because the river is a key part of the town you can hang out on a patio with beverage in hand. If you don't raft out of Salida as much as I love the town, one of my favorites, I'd not drive all that way for a single night.

You can raft from Glenwood Springs so that might be the better stop. http://www.visitglenwood.com/ as to distances Google maps can help

Colorado
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7. Re: Summer trip to Salida and Estes

As alli mentioned, Salida and BV are close to one another. If you're interested in hot springs, I would check out Mt. Princeton Hot Springs.

http://www.mtprinceton.com

They have cabins and the services available include rafting, horseback riding and other activities. You can look at google maps to see exact distances and driving times to these various destinations or at least get a general "lay of the land." Also, for horseback riding and rafting, 'best' is a very subjective term and involves a variety of factors ranging from time of year to the type of services you are seeking for your group (e.g. private, semi-private or group trip; duration…).

Aspen, Colorado
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8. Re: Summer trip to Salida and Estes

Princeton hot springs is in a very scenic area but read the TA reviews first if you decide to go. Overall positive but the negative reviews raise some things to consider, esp the "Vacation from Hell" in light of legalized weed.

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g33562-d1233…

Windsor, Colorado
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9. Re: Summer trip to Salida and Estes

You can go whitewater rafting and horseback riding while in Estes Park. I know from your other posts that your trip is in early June. That will be a great and really exciting time to whitewater raft the Poudre River near Fort Collins. From Estes Park, you are about an hour and 15 minutes down dramatic Big Thompson Canyon to the rafting companies in Fort Collins.

www.shoprma.com

www.raftmwd.com

www.A1wildwater.com

www.awanderlustadventure.com

There are many stables in Estes Park that provide horseback riding in Rocky Mountain National Park - Sombrero, Jackson Stables, National Park Gateway Stables and more. Sombrero has 2 stables inside RMNP.

www.sombrero.com

www.jacksonstables.com

www.skhorses.com

You and the teens might also enjoy an off road jeep tour in nearby Rooosevelt National Forest with Rocky Mountain Rush.

As I told you on one of your earlier post, there is great fly fishing on the Big Thompson River and plenty of businesses in Estes Park to supply you with everything you need - Kirk's, Sasquatch, Estes Angler and Scot's come to mind.

About your itinerary - You need to look at this google map link so you can see the driving times and distances involved to try and work Glenwood Springs, Aspen and Salida/Buena Vista into your itinerary. What time is your departing flight on Sunday? It is at least 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours from the Salida/Buena Vista area back to DIA.

http://goo.gl/maps/RdZnC

Saturday - I would stay in Boulder. The lower elevation gives you time to acclimate to altitude. There is plenty of great shopping at Pearl Street Mall - pedestrian only. Walk the Boulder Creek Path or the McClintock -Enchanted Mesa Loop for views of the Flatirons.

https:/…boulder-creek-path

protrails.com/trail/153/boulder-denver-golde…

Sunday - Take highway 119 through Boulder Canyon (see Boulder Falls) to Nederland where you will join the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway (highway 72 to 7) to Estes Park. Stop at RMNP Wild Basin walk .3 miles to Copeland Falls. Along highway 7 at Lily Lake, take the 1.1 mile loop Lily Ridge Trail for really nice views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The steps take off to the right of the lake.

I can fill in more info for your days in Estes/RMNP later but with rafting, horseback riding, etc., you will have plenty to do.

Make Thursday your day to drive and explore Trail Ridge Road. That way you can do that on your way to Glenwood Springs. It takes at least 90 minutes to just drive Trail Ridge Road between Estes Park and Grand Lake. Add 2 hours to do all the overlooks and at least 2 more hours for short trails along the way. If you get an early start, you can be in Glenwood Springs by late afternoon. Take a cave tour at Glenwood Caverns and enjoy the hot springs. Plan one night in Glenwood Springs.

Friday - Drive from Glenwood Springs to Aspen. Visit Maroon Bells and then drive over Independence Pass to Buena Vista or Salida. Plan a late afternoon or sunset horseback ride. Spend the night in Salida or Buena Vista.

Saturday - take a half day rafting trip on the Arkansas River. Go fishing. If you do not have an early flight on Sunday, spend the night again in Buena Vista or Salida. If you have an early flight, you may want to be closer to Denver Saturday night.

Austin, Texas
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10. Re: Summer trip to Salida and Estes

Oh my gosh!!! What a God send you are!!! This is exactly what I needed! I LOVE the jeep idea...that sounds like a lot of fun. So, I have a few more questions for you....

If we were to do only 1 raft trip (and we may do the 2 you suggested), which one would you prefer between the Arkansas and Poudre?

Is Aspen worth adding in, or should we skip that? And if we were to skip it, what do you think about spending 1 night in Grand Lake?

And between Glenwood Springs and Mt. Princeton (springs?), do you have a preference?

And last question..Salida sounds like a fun little town. Would there be enough for us to do there for 2 days?

I was worried that 4 nights in Estes was too much, but sounds like there is more than enough to keep us entertained.

And yes...we have a late afternoon flight out on Sunday, so we're good there!!

You are awesome!!! Can't thank you enough!!

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